Jul 242012

Among the current practitioners of death-laden doom metal, you’ll be hard-pressed to find two more catastrophic practitioners of the art than Finland’s Hooded Menace and Horse Latitudes. In January 2012, Doomentia Records released a 12″ vinyl split by the two bands, with each one contributing a song. Since January, Doomentia has gone through two limited pressings of 500 copies, and both are sold out, though it appears that copies may still be available through the bands’ online shops — Hooded Menace here and Horse Latitudes here.

Fortunately, you don’t have to scrounge around for one of the remaining copies of the vinyl edition to hear the music, because Doomentia has recently made the split available for streaming and digital download on Bandcamp.

As we previously reported, Hooded Menace also have a new album on the way via Relapse Records by the name of Effigies of Evil. It will be released on September 11 and can be pre-ordered in a variety of formats and bundles here. Today, Noisecreep premiered that album’s title track, which I strongly recommend you check out at this location.

But the main purpose of this post is to review and recommend the Hooded Menace / Horse Latitudes split. Though it consists of only two songs, it’s almost 19 minutes of music, because both songs are long-format offerings. Both songs are also lessons in how to make slow, extended, completely gut-crunching music without sending listeners into a coma.

HOODED MENACE

The Hooded Menace track is named “Instruments of Eternal Damnation”. The beginning of the song is excruciatingly bleak, the riffs moaning and ponderous, the distortion levels in the red zone, the cavernous, reverberating vocals hollow and hungry. But then comes the point shortly after the two-minute mark when the song transforms into something really memorable, as the lead guitar begins to spin out a rising melody. The bone-breaking riffs and voracious vocals come back soon, but that little melody returns, too. Made me throw back my head and close my eyes.

In the song’s mid-section, the lead guitar executes a variation on the song’s opening melodic themes and follows it with a reverberating solo over a new low-end riff. The interplay between the guitars and bass in this variant segment is almost progressive in its feel, though the music remains black as night and immensely heavy. And speaking of heavy, the funereal drumming is utterly crushing.

Ah yes, that sublime little melody comes back one more time just before the devastating finish. Damn, this really is one fine song.

HORSE LATITUDES

The Horse Latitude track is “Flame of Will”, and it’s one of the heaviest you’ll hear all year. The MIDI-style drone and choral vocals with which it begins soon leads into the brutal, methodical crash and crush of fuzzed-out reverberating chords — even slower and more dirge-like than the Hooded Menace song. At about the 3:00 mark, following this extended intro, the drumming and riffing increase in speed and the mid-range roaring vocals make an appearance — but the aura of the music remains thick, dank, and utterly soul-sucking.

This part of the song turns out to be a real head-nodder, and it’s followed by a segment that’s more melodic, and by “melodic” I mean fucking pestilent and hopeless. The brutally crushing riffs from the intro come back, as if a craggy indigo giant has just shoved his way through the wall of your abode for an uninvited return visit, and the choral vocals and MIDI synthetics also make their return at the finish.

“Flame of Will” may not have the hooks that pop up in “Instruments of Eternal Damnation”, but it’s nonetheless riveting — a massive, primitive edifice of jagged stone and occult atmosphere that lingers ominously in the mind’s eye.

You can find Horse Latitudes on Facebook here, and the band’s other releases can be streamed at their Bandcamp page. Hooded Menace also have a Bandcamp page here, and this is the link to the Hooded Menace FB page.

This is the music, which you can download, courtesy of Doomentia, at this location:
 

4 Responses to “SHORT BUT SWEET: HOODED MENACE / HORSE LATITUDES SPLIT”

  1. Horse Latitudes has no guitar, but two bass players (who also handle effects), hence the heaviness. (Ironic because they appear to be named for a song by The Doors, who had no bass.) I reviewed their most recent full-length for Doom-metal.com. The most pertinent lines being, “The long, slow crush of riffs feels like the sun is beating down on you while you’re stranded at sea. . . .
    “It successfully creates a mood of paranoia, fear, and desperation, and it’s satisfyingly heavy.”

    Not a band for everyone, certainly. Kind of an odd pick for this site, since you usually don’t cover much doom. Nice write-up!

    • Islander says:

      Thanks. You’re right that we don’t cover doom very often, but I do have a taste for it every now and then. I should have mentioned that HL is a guitar-less band — a point that seems highly relevant to any description of their music. :)

      • I’ll do what I can to pick up on the doom-slack. If I have a bag, that is it. It’s weird how I’ve gone through so many phases of different metal loves. Started on Metallica and nu metal, eventually got to Lacuna Coil and Nightwish, then to Opeth and Death, then Necrophagist and Suffocation, a black metal and/or prog metal kick here or there. But I’ve been on a doom “kick” for like, almost two years now. It’s looking more and more like a permanent preference.

        I’m hoping you will have a review for the upcoming Evoken album. It’s been crushing my balls for the last week. It’s messy, gross, and painful–and totally worth every second. It’d be good to know if I’m not the only one suffering through this awesomeness.

        • Islander says:

          I’ve got that Evoken beast but haven’t yet had time to give it a serious listen. I’ve definitely been looking forward to it though.

          For me, doom as been a very late discovery. I guess maybe my tastes have changed, or maybe my outlook, but it has started to click with me when it didn’t before.

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